Board of Regents Approve 2015 Budget

Matthew Rezab

The Iowa Board of Regents unanimously approved 2015 fiscal year budgets for Iowa State University, the University of Iowa and the University of Northern Iowa today.

Iowa State’s approved budget of $584.6 million for 2015 is a $32.4 million [5.8%] increase from the 2014 budget. The increase is due to more revenue from state appropriations and increased tuition revenue resulting from rising enrollment.

Iowa State President Steven Leath said the university will focus on four priorities when dispersing the extra revenue: Maintaining academic excellence, enhancing basic and applied research, promoting economic development and improving the campus environment.

“We feel [these priorities] are key to the overall success of both the students and the university,” Leath said.

Leath highlighted keeping college affordable, recruiting and retaining quality faculty and improvement of the student experience at Iowa State as priorities receiving large funding increases.

Iowa State will allocate $4.7 million to upgrade the current wireless network. Speeds are expected to increase from 10 mbps to 100mbps.

Leath reported on the status of some of the building projects at Iowa State. Sweeney hall is now open to the public. Construction is complete at Elings Hall and Sukup Hall, a dedication ceremony will be held Sept. 25, and the renovations to MacKay Hall are also complete.

The total budget for the three regent institutions is slightly more than $1.45 billion.

The board also approved the addition of two new degree programs at Iowa State. Master’s of arts and Ph.D. programs will be offered in the field of gerontology.

Gerontology is the study of the psychological, social and biological aspects of aging.

An undergraduate minor in gerontology has been offered on-campus in the past.

Rick Ferraro, of Deloitte Consulting, updated the board on the progress of the Transparent, Inclusive Efficiency Review [TIER]. The program is designed to identify and remedy inefficiencies and redundancies to save money for Iowa’s regent institutions.

Deloitte is currently studying the viability of consolidating the regent universities building and supply contracts in order to negotiate more favorable prices. Deloitte estimates that the change could save $16 to $40 million dollars over the next 18-24 months.

“These are real, significant savings,” Ferraro said. “It’s an exercise in how to work differently to be more efficient and more effective.”